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12:30 Manifesto of a Good Cripple - Suzanne Cowan

Suzanne Cowan sees dancers with disabilities as pioneers reshaping how dance is perceived through challenging contemporary dance audiences. She's a dance artist who uses a wheelchair having transitioned from dancing on two legs. She also choreographs for other dancers with disabilities including a long association with New Zealand's Touch Compass Dance company.

Now Suzanne's putting her life on stage in a solo work based on her groundbreaking  20 year career. The show is called Manifesto of a Good Cripple premieres at the Basement Theatre, October 29,30 and 31. 


12:45 Stories behind the stories at NZ Listener - Joanne Drayton

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After telling the stories of writer Dame Ngaio Marsh, artist Frances Hodgkins and entertainers Hudson and Halls, biographer Joanne Drayton is turning her attention to the history of The New Zealand Listener.

It was first published in June 1939 as a weekly broadcasting guide for radio listeners, and has held its own against competition from other publications to be New Zealand's best-selling current affairs magazine.

Joanne's recently won the Stout Fellowship at Victoria University Wellington where she'll continue her research in those who wrote for The New Zealand Listener and those featured in it over the decades. That includes Joanne herself whose previous books have been Listener cover stories.

She says she's going in search of the stories behind the stories and if you have information or stories for her, you can be in touch through

Joanne Drayton is an acclaimed New Zealand author whose output is globally recognised. Her book Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love was the winner of the Royal Society Te Aparangi Award for General Non-Fiction at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in May 2019, and The Search for Anne Perry was numbered in the top 10 non-fiction books on the New York Times  list.  Both The Search for Anne Perry and Hudson & Halls: The Food of Love have been optioned for feature films.

She has curated exhibitions and publishes in art history, theory and biography. She is writing an autobiography and carving a post-colonial chess set in response to the Lewis pieces in the British Museum.  


1:10 At The Movies

Includes the much-talked about biopic of Judy Garland - Judy starring a stellar performance by Renee Zellweger.


1:33 Trading Taonga - Janet Davidson on "artificial curiosities"

Items that were traded with, stolen from or gifted by Maori who came into contact with James Cook and his crew on the Endeavour's voyages to Aotearoa New Zealand were hugely valuable - culturally but also financially.

250 years on, archeologist, author and editor Janet Davidson has produced a book detailing the "artificial curiosities", as they were called, from Cook's three Pacific voyages, and that are held in the Te Papa collection.

The objects that are described in The Cook Voyages Encounters published by Te Papa Press range from hei tiki and musical instruments to fish hooks and weaponry.

Janet has researched the provenance of the items and discounted some that have questionable attributions to Cook's expeditions.


1:50 Poverty and child neglect in Hansel and Gretel - Loughlan Prior 

The silent film era is one of the big inspirations for Royal New Zealand Ballet Choreographer in Residence Loughlan Prior who's putting his own spin on the Hansel and Gretel fable for the company.

It's Loughlan's first choreography for a full length ballet and he's going for it. He believes the early 19th century Brothers Grimm's story of Hansel and Gretel is just as relevant for 21st century audiences, with it's exploration of poverty and child neglect.

Hansel and Gretel premieres in Wellington on November 6 and tours New Zealand until Christmas visiting Palmerston North, Napier, Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Auckland and Takapuna. Loughlan has another ballet premiering in November, in Australia. 


2:06 The Laugh Track - Ben Fagan and Sara Hirsch

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Recently we've been exploring some of the outskirts of the comedy world - fringe theatre, improv festivals, slam poetry - and in one memorable moment, the "anti-slam" poetry of Ben Fagan and Sara Hirsch

A former UK Slam Champion, Sara ranked third in the World Slam Championships in 2014 and won the European Slam in Madrid in 2016. Sara is a TEDx speaker, has performed at Glastonbury and live on the BBC and has toured extensively, both in the UK, NZ and internationally. 

Ben has shared his work across the UK, USA and NZ, including writing and performing two poetry shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His debut collection Some Traveller was published in the UK in 2017, then in 2018 he co-founded Motif Poetry Ruri Tūtohu, a kiwi poetry company.

Both are behind the upcoming New Zealand Poetry Slam and guest curators with Verb Wellington Festival.


2:25 Ambassador for Decolonisation: Jo Walsh at A Culture Lab on Civility

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Artist, arts producer and activist Jo Walsh has just returned home to Aotearoa from the UK after almost 20 years encouraging and supporting other expat artists from around the Pacific.

One of her proudest achievements is the Interisland Collective a Pacific Island arts and culture hub for artists, curators and academics based a long way from home, in London.

Jos's brought a piece of the collective home with her to share at this weekend's Te Whāinga: A Culture Lab in Auckland, that's examining the term civility agains the backdrop of the ongoing impassioned debates over the Tuia 250 Commemorations of James Cook's first landing in Aotearoa.

While Aotearoa New Zealand's 250th commemorations  have generated impassioned debates around the country, England has also been marking the occasion - with pomp and ceremony. That's been challenging for Jo who was a founding member of the Polynesian SaVAge K'lub in Auckland before she left.

Jo has been an "ambassador for decolonisation" working with major institutions, an activist for repatriation of ancestral histories and is focused on increasing the volume and quantity of Pacific voices and activations around the world.

Te Whāinga: A Culture Lab on Civility in Auckland examines the term civility in parallel to the Tuia 250 Commemorations with original art experiences, performances and interactive activities. 


2:40 When AI is in charge - Writer Chris Else

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Imagine in the not too distant future, a New Zealand where Artificial Intelligence is in charge of  all aspects of your life, and if you're not officially registered you'll be incarcerated.

This is the scenario for author Chris Else's ninth novel, Waterline. It starts with a family forced to leave the good life of Wellesley for a dodgy town called Byte, and where the authorities incarcerate Stella's husband Brian leaving her alone with their teenage children. Chris begins by reading from Waterline for us.


2:49 Fighting Attila the Hun - JA Grierson

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Fifth century Barbarian King Attila the Hun's ruthless expansion of the Hunnic Empire is the stuff of legend and of many books, films and academic essays.

New Zealand writer JA Grierson has released the first in a trilogy of books about this period called The Last of the Romans Trilogy. Rivers Ran Red offers the perspective of a defiant Roman General Avitus who tries to unite his divided people against the Scourge of God.

The book covers the epic Battle of the Catalaunian Plains between the Roman forces and the Huns.
Dominic Godfrey read for us from Rivers Ran Red. It is published by Cloud Ink.

3:06 Drama at 3 - The Wreck of the Royal Charter

One hundred and sixty years ago - in October, 1859 - a ship returning to England from the Australasian goldfields was wrecked on the Welsh coast with the loss of 460 lives. The horrifying facts were recorded by the minister of the village where the bodies of most of the victims were buried.

In our docudrama this afternoon, Barry Williams is The Reverend Stephen Roose-Hewse as he tells the story of The Wreck of the Royal Charter. The story of The Wreck of the Royal Charter was researched, written and presented by Barry Williams. It was recorded by Phil Benge and produced by Carol Dee for RNZ National.

Music played in this show

Artist: Martin Phillipps
Song: Witch's Hat
Composer: Martin Phillipps
Album: Sketchbook Volume 1
Label: Flying Nun
Played at: 12.30pm

Artist: Florence and the Machine
Song: Which Witch
Composer: Florence WelchIsabella Summers
Album:  How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Label: Island
Played at: 12.55pm

Artist: The Sonics
Song: The Witch
Composer: Gerald Roslie
Album: Introducing the Sonics
Label: Jerden
Played at: 1.09pm

Artist: Redbone
Song: The Witch Queen of New Orleans
Composer:  L. VegasP. Vegas
Album: Message from a Drim
Label: Epic
Played at: 1.45pm

Artist: Ono
Song: Yes, I'm a witch
Composer: Yoko Ono
Album: Yes, I'm a witch
Label: Astralwerks
Played at: 

Artist: Glen Miller and his Orchestra
Song: Ding dong the witch is dead
Composer: E.Y. Harburg, Harold Arlen
Album: The Legendary Glen Miller
Label: RCA
Played at: 2.59pm

Artist: Marianne Faithful
Song: Witches Song
Composer: Unknown
Album: Negative Capability
Label: Panta Rei
Played at: 3.05pm

Artist: Lana Del Ray
Song: Season of the Witch
Composer: Donovan
Album: Scary Stories to tell in the dark
Label: Universal
Played at: 3.57pm